Coronavirus

Police warn of tougher enforcement as Victorians fined for breach of mandatory face mask rule

People wearing masks walk along the Morell Bridge in Melbourne, 24 July 2020. Source: AAP

Sixteen Victorians have been fined for not complying with the mandatory mask rule, as the state's police minister says officers will become more stringent in their enforcement.

Police have issued 101 fines to Victorians flouting coronavirus restrictions including breaching lockdown borders and not wearing a mask.

People attending gyms, parties and brothels have also been fined.

While Victoria records hundreds of new COVID-19 cases daily, some Victorians continue to ignore coronavirus restrictions and obligations.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said although many people are doing the right thing, the number of penalties handed to Victorians since Thursday shows some "don't care".

"There are people deciding they still want to party, people who have decided they want to continue to go to brothels," she told reporters on Friday.

"They decided that the gym can continue to operate, and of course people who have decided to go into unrestricted areas."

The owner of a gym in Hume was issued a $9,913 fine after police found the facility open.

Ms Neville said police have since Thursday done more than 5300 spot checks of homes and businesses, and are following up on 1300 calls for police assistance.

Victoria Police said officers checked more than 23,000 vehicles on Thursday, handing 12 of the 101 total infringement notices at checkpoints.

One fine was issued to a man travelling from Laverton to Mordialloc to buy cigarettes.

Of the 101 fines issued in the last 24 hours, 16 of those were for failing to wear a face covering when leaving home.

Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent described a woman's reported dodging of a checkpoint in Melbourne as a selfish and childish act.

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ADF deployed to contain COVID-19 spread in Victoria
ADF deployed to contain COVID-19 spread in Victoria

Mr Nugent said police had been working really hard on roadblock checkpoints with the assistance of about 250 Australian Defence Force members.

He also said the community had been outstanding in embracing the use of masks, but added some have refused masks offered by police patrolling supermarkets, shopping centres and populous areas.

Ms Neville said police issued "a handful of fines" on Thursday to people refusing to wear masks.

"The discretion for masks will continue over the next seven days but be in no doubt ... discretionary is limited," she said.

"Whether you are trying to get through a roadblock, trying to get away with not wearing a mask, whether you're trying to have a party, Victoria Police will be there."

Residents in metropolitan Melbourne are subject to stay-at-home orders and can only leave home for essential work, study, exercise or care responsibilities. It is also mandatory to wear masks in public.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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